Occupational Therapy…Restoring patients’ ability to do what most of us take for granted.
April is Occupational Therapy Month – a time when we celebrate the critical role that occupational therapists play in helping people faced with injury, illness or disability maximize their independence and live their best life.
If you’ve never had the need for occupational therapy you may not know what it is, or you may assume, like many people that it is the same as physical therapy. It’s not.
So, what is Occupational Therapy?
Occupational Therapy (“OT”) is a form of therapy that focuses on the treatment of people with a wide range of conditions that may be physical, mental, developmental or emotional, which affect an individual’s ability to perform the activities of daily living – from the simplest to the most complex things.
What’s the difference between Occupational Therapy and Physical Therapy?
The key difference between occupational therapy and physical therapy is that while the focus of physical therapy (“PT”) is helping people regain the ability to move their bodies (typically after an injury or surgery), occupational therapy is all about helping them perform specific daily tasks that many of us take for granted, like eating, bathing, getting dressed, taking care of personal hygiene, etc.
Occupational Therapy at Excelsior Orthopaedics.
At Excelsior, we provide occupational therapy services to people across Western New York. Here our focus is on patients who have experienced an “upper body” (from the shoulder to the fingertips) injury or have suffered from a chronic condition that worsens over time. After being treated for this injury/condition either through surgery or a more conservative non-surgical approach, the patient may require occupational therapy to regain the ability to perform tasks that are important to daily life.
One of the many advantages of seeking treatment for upper body injuries/conditions at Excelsior is the unique “continuity of care” that we can provide for you – under one roof. First, you’ll be treated by one of WNY’s leading orthopedic and sports medicine physicians with the most advanced surgical and non-surgical treatment options available today. Then your post treatment “therapeutic” care will be provided by our outstanding team of occupational therapists, who work in close collaboration with your Excelsior physician to ensure that you are on the right path, staying with you every step of the way.
“Excelsior’s occupational therapists empower and advocate for patients to truly own their therapeutic journey and celebrate their milestones and achievements,” said Danielle O’Connell, MS, OTR/L.
Natalie Schrack, MS, OTR/L elaborated on Excelsior’s approach to OT. “We guide our patients to maximize their independence with any type of activity that occupies their day,” she said. “Whether that means restoring shoulder range of motion and strength for being able to adequately wash their hair and thread a belt through their jeans, or improving their grip strength so they are able to return to holding on to a leash to walk their dog.”
“Our occupational therapists are trained to assess the whole patient – considering their unique personal, situational, medical and historical situation and developing custom rehab programs to meet their personal goals,” said Justine Smith, MS, OTR/L. “This may include restorative techniques to maximize range of motion and strength, creating custom splints for proper anatomical alignment of boney and soft-tissue structures during healing, or manual techniques for management of soft tissue dysfunction. All the while, we are providing instruction and tips on how to prevent the patient from avoiding or ‘compensating’ for limitations and instead seek adaptive approaches to problem solving with the goal of achieving improved independence.”
If you find yourself in need of occupational therapy, look no further than Excelsior Orthopaedics!